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ATL stops U.S. sales of Ultramark 4

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All good things must eventually come to an end, and so it is withATL's Ultramark 4 ultrasound scanner. After a 12-year run in whichover 12,000 systems were installed, the Bothell, WA, company hasdiscontinued U.S. production of the workhorse ob/gyn

All good things must eventually come to an end, and so it is withATL's Ultramark 4 ultrasound scanner. After a 12-year run in whichover 12,000 systems were installed, the Bothell, WA, company hasdiscontinued U.S. production of the workhorse ob/gyn scanner.

ATL introduced Ultramark 4 in 1984 as a general-purpose, non-color-flowscanner. Sales of the systems were shifted to ob/gyn physiciansand international markets as the vendor developed more advancedscanners. The scanner sold for $30,000 to $60,000, depending onconfiguration.

U.S. production of Ultramark 4 was stopped early this year,although manufacturing and sales will continue in India throughATL's joint venture company in that country.

A major factor contributing to the scanner's demise was thechanging face of the U.S. market, which has resulted in fewersolo ob/gyn practitioners and more group practices that can affordmore advanced technology, according to ATL spokesperson Jane Hedberg.

"We feel that the ob/gyn market is going to more of agroup practice situation," Hedberg said. "Ultramark4 was a very successful product for us, but the technology hasimproved since then and it is time to provide more image qualityand more features."

While the entire ATL sales force sold Ultramark 4 scanners,the majority of sales were handled by a 15-person ob/gyn salesteam. Those employees will be folded into a new sales force ATLhas established, which is targeted at women's health.

To fill Ultramark 4's place in the gray-scale imaging segment,ATL is rolling out an upgraded version of the Apogee 800 scanner,which the company acquired through its purchase of Interspec.Apogee 800 Plus features a new user-friendly control panel, anew microprocessor, and new and expanded analysis packages, Hedbergsaid. It will begin shipping next month at list prices of $65,000for a gray-scale scanner to $90,000 for a color version.

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